I realized that there are some down sides to rainy weather here. First of all, the dirt roads instantly turn to mud roads, which makes it virtually impossible to ride your bike to school without splatter mud all over your paints, primarily your backside. Also, all of the puddles are a breeding ground for the nasty mosquitos. This wouldn't be such an issue if I didn't have to go into a garden every time I need internet here at Ak'bol. I'm still debating whether checking my e-mails are worth all of the mosquito welts that are surfacing all over my body. So far, I haven't been able to function without my e-mail, so my body continues to get eaten alive.
Having said all this, I can't complain. It was a nice cool day and I had another good day of teaching. One thing I realized today is that no matter how cool it is outside, it is virtually impossible for me to leave the school without being drenched in sweat and covered in chalk dust. I don't know what it is about teaching at San Pedro High School, but I just feel like coming back to my hut and throwing away the clothes I've worn that day because they are usually covered in filth. I can't imagine what it is like in Belize during August. That must be horrible.
Anyway, today's lesson was on heroes/heroines. In true Miss Usher style, she told me I would be teaching this lesson twenty minutes before our first class. We discussed what heroes are (most of them believed that they were super heroes) and then she asked me to discuss Nelson Mandela, since the textbook had a picture of him in it. When I looked for some facts of him in the book, they didn't have any. I pride myself on being a pretty worldly guy, but I honestly don't know that much about Nelson Mandela. I know that he is an equal-rights activist in Africa and that he spent a long time in jail for his beliefs that went against that of the African government, but I am very unclear on the specifics. I was stuck teaching a lesson I knew little about, so for much of the first part of class, I had to pretend like I knew a lot more than I did and dance around any questions students had. This was probably the most uncomfortable teaching moment I have thus far.
After this discussion, students had to work on listening comprehension, so I had to read a story aloud about a boy who saved his little brother from a burning Hyundai pick-up truck. Students then had to recall setting, characters, plot, and theme of the story. After that, students shared stories about heroes that they have seen. In one class, I had a student share a story about one of his peers, Charles, who apparently saved a really large woman from drowning the other day. the students were really happy for Charles and we all gave him a round of applause, which was nice.
The rest of the day was really fun as well. Today I got all of my students' e-mail addresses so that they can exchange e-mails with students at Laney High School. When I explained my plans to get their e-mail addresses so that they could talk with students back in the United States, a lot of them became very excited. I think that some of them are looking for romantic connections, but I had to explain to them that this wasn't match.com (a reference they didn't understand) and that the distance might make any chance at a relationship rather difficult. Either way, they were excited to communicate with the students from America. It should be interesting to see what they write.
Before I left today, I made sure that Miss Usher told me what we would be teaching tomorrow to prevent another "Nelson Mandela incident." I'm teaching drama and play-writing to my first form students, which is an interesting change of pace from today. I'll be sure to write tomorrow to let you know how it goes.